Prepare for storm season

Every year we write editorials about being prepared for tropical storms. June 1 through Nov. 30 is officially hurricane season in the Central Pacific.

On May 24, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that its forecast for this year is for an 80 percent chance of a normal or above-normal number of tropical cyclones this season.

Because of the possibility of a slight El Nino effect this year, NOAA said in a press release there is a 70 percent chance of five to eight tropical cyclones that include tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes. A normal year would have four to five.

The Hawaiian Islands lie in an area of the world where tropical cyclones are bred in warm ocean waters. The topography of the islands — sharp-sided mountains and deep valleys — can intensify heavy winds.

Families should have a hurricane plan with all needed supplies on hand for at least five days. Have plenty of bottled water — flashlights and a hand-cranked radio should also be available. Have extra batteries for the flashlights. Don’t forget toiletries. Have a first-aid kit.

Bring in a generous store of nonperishable foods — canned goods, peanut butter, soups, crackers. Just about anything that doesn’t require refrigeration is a good food to include in your disaster kit.

The Red Cross suggests that because of our isolation, we should have supplies on hand that will take care of our families for 14 days.

Experts also recommend anyone living below 25-feet elevation — a majority of Maui’s population — should be ready to evacuate.

Visit it at www.redcross.org/hi/honolulu.

• Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.

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